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16 facts you need to know about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.


The death of George Floyd in America, and the subsequent rage and protests that have ensued worldwide, has prompted Australians to look at the shameful and systematic racism that exists on our own shores. 

In Australia, the disproportionate incarceration of Indigenous Australians is one of our most acute human rights concerns.

Plus, in February this year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison tabled the Closing The Gap report - a bipartisan government campaign founded in 2008 to improve the health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples - which failed to meet five of their seven targets, proving the continued oppression faced by Indigenous Australians every day. 

Side note… Listen to Mamamia’s podcast, Tiddas 4 Tiddas. It features candid conversations with Indigenous women, hosted by Kamilaroi and Dunghutti woman, Marlee Silva. Post continues below.

As Nelson Mandela once stated, "Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world."

Here are 16 facts that demonstrate just a snapshot of the injustice and inequity that faces Indigenous Australians. 

1. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults make up two per cent of the national population, but 27 per cent of the national prison population, according to the ABS.

2. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are 12.5 times more likely to be in prison than non-Indigenous people, according to the Australian Government

3. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women were 21.2 times more likely to be in prison than non-Indigenous women, according to the Australian Government.

4. In 2016, around 20 in every 1,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were incarcerated, according to the Australian Government

5. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander incarceration rates increased 41 per cent between 2006 and 2016, according to the Australian Government.

6. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians comprise 30 per cent of the Northern Territory population, but 84 per cent of the Northern Territory prison population, according to the ABS.

7. Indigenous children make up five per cent of the general youth population, but 59 per cent of those in youth detention across Australia, according to the Australian Government.

8. This means, Indigenous young people aged 10-17 are 26 times as likely as non-Indigenous young people to be in detention on an average night, according to the Australian government

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9. At least 432 Indigenous Australians have died in custody since the end of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1991. In that time, close to 30 years, there have been zero convictions as a result of these deaths. 

10. In 2018, the Indigenous child mortality rate was 141 per 100,000 – this is twice the rate for non-Indigenous children, which is 67 per 100,000, according to Closing The Gap.

The child mortality rate per 100,000 children. Image: Mamamia.

11. For Indigenous students, the attendance rate is 82 per cent. For non-Indigenous students, the attendance rate is 97 per cent.

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The school attendance rate in Australia. Image: Mamamia.


12. In 2018, about one in four Indigenous students in Years 5, 7 and 9, and one in five in Year 3 remained below national minimum standards in reading, according to Closing The Gap.

13. In 2018, the Indigenous employment rate was 49 per cent, compared with 75 per cent for non-Indigenous Australians, according to Closing The Gap.

The employment rates in Australia. Image: Mamamia.


14. For Indigenous females in Australia, life expectancy is 75.6 years, which is 7.8 years less than non-Indigenous females, according to Closing The Gap.

15. For males, the life expectancy is 71.6 years for Indigenous males and 80.2 years for non-Indigenous males, according to Closing The Gap.

16. The majority of Indigenous Australians never commit a criminal offence. 

Feature Image: Getty.


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